Life is easy enough, work is not push and shove, but there is a need to hussle to buy a car, or motorcycle.
10 Things that Suck for the Togo Worker
First of all, number 11 is they work from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM
People who work in stores work 14 hours pay, the shop opens at 7:00 and closes at 9:00 pm, and it is the same workers, no replacements. The minimum wage is about 2-3 dollars per day, or roughly 70-75 U.S. Dollar, generally this is six days per week.
Now doesn’t that suck?
Not really, when most other workers around you are making the same money, working the same. There is no shame here, each person has enough money to fit in, and be part of the gang.
Shame is when all your friends have shoes, and you do not. When all the kids have Ipads, and you do not. I think here in Togo, the dream goal is to earn enough to buy a Motorcycle, so you can look down on your friends, and be big man in the neighborhood.
If people earn 2-3 dollars per day, which is double the United Nations line of poverty of 1.25 per day… Think about it.
Then the person can live on 2-3 dollar per day… Accept this! You are not in Kansas; you are in Togo, the same as 80 percent of planet, not the USA and Europe that is over-developed.
If you have enough money to live, then life is good, or you can take up complaining as a habit, maybe a hobby.
There are 1000’s of ways, to make 5-10 dollar with one sale, in one hour, in one stroke of luck here in Togo. So, often there it is 2 dollar salary per day, with the hope that today, they get a lucky 10 dollars out-of-the blue payment. This is easy for the girls who like to open doors with a smile, and difficult for the ugly, shy, or disabled.
Where are those staving people?
People do not starve on planet earth, but often eat really bad nutrition food, the same as those fat girls gorging themselves in the USA on potato chips. Malnutrition is a problem in all countries on the planet, including the USA, couple grossly fat, with malnutrition, and you got a person who is getting sick all the time. People with malnutrition have dull colored hair, and ugly looking skin, with a dull look in their eyes, they are sleeping looking.
How do you starve on planet earth? A war, or a drought, with no savings, living day to day, you can starve, but without a draught, or war, life is easy enough. Africans do not save for a rainy day, they just do not make enough money to save money, and there is so much food growing it is so abundant, why would they save it, there is food everywhere here, there is no shortage of fat people in Togo, West Africa.
I have seen maybe 5 people who look as though they are starving in the 15 years of travel, and visiting 90 countries. . Generally, this person is so crazy, he or she cannot even beg.
Sometime I say to people in the sub-Sahara,
“Hey, if you were smart, you would walk south 100 miles.”
And, generally beggars get angry at me, if I give them food; they want money, not food, what good is food to a beggar? On average, in West Africa, one beggar walks up to me per day, generally there person is nuts, or missing a leg. I would say, in Africa, there are not many beggars, but there are not many alcoholics, in fact, I see maybe one to two alcoholics per month, but in Central and South America, I see 2-5 per day, alcohol is not the problem, spending too much money on beer is a problem.
10 Cent Per Shot Alcohol
The can all drink the moonshine here in Togo, that is called Sodabi, which for sure, is a cheap drunk. It cost 50 Franc per shot here in Atakpame, Togo. That is 10 cents a shot.
Now, I am a recovering alcoholic, I can spot a drunk at 50 meters, and know how to avoid what am me at heart. I have not drank for 25 years, but once and alchie, always an alchie. Nothing annoys me more than drunk wanting beer money; it has never happened in Africa, it happened daily when I lived in Mexico for a year.
When I stopped drinking it was amazing, suddenly in the USA, I always had enough to eat, and pay my rent, that was all it took for me in the USA to feel better. If I had never purchased a house in the USA, I would have never been a house slave, which is torture.
Life is simple, easy and good in Togo
But, I finally figured out what sucks about working, and living in Togo, compared to the USA.
1. No Free Time - Workers have not free time, except on Sundays. The only free time is before 7-8 AM, or after 9:00 PM.
2. Sunday, and after work, the Christian religion wants them to be in church. The Islamic are in continuous walking, and talking with the Mosque, but this is not the girls, I almost never see them pray, Islam is a man religion.
3. Bored out of their brains, the job is so easy, so boring, and even when a person walks in to buy something, it takes all the energy they can muster to smile.
4. They need to search for the big hit, the 10 dollar bump in money that would put them up a couple level of status.
5. The 10 dollars bumps, the big money is made by doing nefarious activities, cheating a person, or charging a foreigner five times the correct price. Girl want a gift, a cadeau, they will make love with men, if the man gives them a 3-15 dollar gift.
6. No money to save there is not really saving money. I have been poor in the USA; you can live easy enough in the USA on 10 dollars per day and almost always earn 50-70 dollars per day. The American can almost always save 10-30 dollar per day.
7. What they really want to do cost the same as in the USA. To buy a motorcycle here, cost the same as a cheap motorcycle in the USA. A cheap stereo cost the same as cheap stereo in the USA. Yes, they are maybe 20-50 percent cheaper, but the are not 10 cents on the dollar. The cost of eating is radically cheap, the rent is radically cheap, but buying a car is about the same as the USA.
8. Getting to watch rich foreigners drive around in a car sucks, knowing they can never be the same. Now, many a girl is trying to hook a foreigner, move out of the country, and be the rich and famous, so they can say to their friends,
“See me; be jealous, I am not like you.”
9. Your family, parents, and friends always know what you are doing; they know you are at work. If the see you walking to a girl or boys house, doing something, then gossip is easy. To be anonymous, you need to do it in the dark of night, and be sneaky.
10. Having an affair is profitable for women, more money for the kids. But sucks for the husband, he has to look the other way, or earn enough money to keep his wife pants on with the rich guy down the street.
What I see as the big problems with 80 percent of the planet is not poverty, I see many, too many fat people, hardly working, life is simple in what we the rich, see a poor countries.
The pain is the hussle, the need to grift, to pinch at people, to work the system, to squeak more out of situation than is just, and fair. It is not good enough to just make a buck, you got to hook the others around you into giving you 1.25, and often by lying or making them feel guilty.
I know many people in the USA that need to work, scrape, and bring together enough money to pay the rent. It is almost never because they did not earn enough. I was a Real Estate Broker in the USA, and my company managed 230 properties or units. All the people living in the homes or apartments made enough money to pay the rent. They would spend all their money on booze, bars, clothes or food, gluttony was problem, the need to go to McDonald to eat, with the super size coca cola, the just blew all the money on stupid stuff, but the always complained, I do not have enough money.
Generally Togo, West Africa people have a few dream, whether a Motorcycle, or a Fridge, of some status clothing. It is hard to be high class, to be more than just another person on the block.
As best I see it, 99.99 percent of people on the planet have enough money for rent, and food. Cancer, AID’s and major surgery are the problem that is hard to deal with.
Everyone wants the ability to say,
“I am rich, and you are poor.”
This is what makes people feel good on planet earth, to know that someone is poor. It makes people feel good to know they have a nice house, and a sporty car, and all their friends cannot afford them.
Here in Togo, you buy a Motorcycle, by hook or crook, this put you one social class higher than your friends.
All of life is about working to become a somebody, and stop being a nobody, so we feel proud. Yet, in the end, 99 percent of humans take short cuts, they know in the back of their minds they earned money they did not deserve, or got ahead with by working a job where they lie all day, or they cheat on taxes, or something.
Being on the hussle never leads people to really rise above, and feel good, without shame, and no reason to go to Church. But if you feel a little guilty for the rest of your life, you hussle, and you have a few things you did not need, and did not deserve.
It is sort of like the trust fund kid, whose father died, and gave them a big inheritance. Or the social security recipient, who knows the could work, but keeps telling the same lame story to the free money. Of the worker who is on Facebook all day at work and not really giving the boss full days works.
Being on the hussle, so we can be high status, is the monkey on the back of all humans.
Sitting around waiting for that one big break in life, makes anyone ask God for help, because it is a miracle, to suddenly have 100 dollars in your pocket in Togo, or 10,000 dollars in the USA.
Freedom is, when you do not need to hussle, when you do not feel the need to work harder, to do more, to talk more, and to convince the world into giving you a break.
When a person tells me they are busy, and then I know, they are not free, they are on the hussle to live plan. If we work to be proud of our work, and never for the money, we would be relieve of the hussle, the life of squeaking to make it.
Debt requires people to hussle, no debt, no hussle, then life is simple, and you can be like me, sitting around tryng to find something to do all day.
No debt, no car, no house, and no hussle, life is good, I get to look down on you who are too busy, and on the way to work. I be Hobo.
Andy Graham in Atakpame, Togo on the other side of the planet, over the rainbow, where there is a pot of gold, called free time. January 2013